Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My time: 10:40.

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This puzzle is brought to us by master puzzler Brendan Emmett Quigley (sounds like the precocious protagonist of a young adult novel) and puzzle dabbler John Lithgow.  Naturally, it is all about... the theatah!  Themed entries in each corner spell out theater phrases, but clued in tricky fashion.
"Decision to go with drapes instead of blinds?"  CURTAIN CALL.
"Fly fisherman?"  CAST PARTY.  (Not as clever.)
"Why one missed the coach?"  STAGE LEFT.  (My favorite.)
"Accountant's shares in a company?"  SUMMER STOCK.  (Wasn't quite sure about the theatrical meaning of this.)

Lithgow also put in references to himself: "TV's 'The Crown or 'Dexter'" are shows he's been in, and won best ACTOR for.

Crossword mainstay "Swiss waterway" AAR often gives me trouble, as I forget how to spell it.  I guess mostly because it's often spelled Aare.  Anyway, it's the longest river entirely within Switzerland.

Another crossword mainstay, ST. LO, properly Saint-Lô, which is the capital of the Manche, which is the department on the coast of la manche.  It is also the site of bombardement by American forces in 1944.  It was destroyed during Operation Overlord.

I spaced on Daniel KEYES, who wrote Flowers for Algernon, but I remembered once the ES appeared.

I'm aware that there is a musical called "PAL Joey," but I never really thought much about it.  It was based on a series of short stories by John O'Hara, with music and lyrics by Rogers and Hart!  "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," one of my favorites, is one of the songs.  The show was even made into a film with Frank Sinatra, which is the form it took in my mind if at all.

"State tree of Iowa:" OAK.  How boring!  It's also the national tree of the USA.

So an ERNE is a long-winged sea eagle.  A tern, on the other hand, is a much-less majestic-looking sea bird.  Don't confuse them, like I did!  You'll add seconds to your time.

I needed just a little help to dredge up OTOES, the Nebraskan tribe related to the Sioux.

"Like Falstaff."  FAT.  Really?  A bit blunt, isn't it?  Is that really all we remember him for?

I couldn't remember if the Gillette razors were *ALTAS or ATRAS or what.  Atra it is.  A close shave, coming right atra!  ...This slogan needs work.

Here's a fill I never heard of: ASA GRAY, "pioneering botanist."  Apparently he's pretty well-known!  He was a big believer in evolution as a product guided by God.  He's so famous that his work on North American plants is called Gray's Manual.

SLEETY is not a good word.

Even though I've been a stage and radio actor in my life, I'm not familiar with the term APRON to describe the area of the stage that abuts the front row.  It may also be called a thrust stage.

I am the single most clueless-about-sports American male, an ongoing series: I had to blind guess the penultimate letter of Minnie MINOSO, nine-time All-Star, "The Cuban Comet," three-time Golden Glove winning "Mr. White Sox." Do you think they ever called him Minnie Mouse?

"Nanki-Poo's pursuer in The Mikado" is KATISHA.  I'm vaguely familiar with this operetta, and could maybe have even provided Nanki-Poo's name with some crossfill, but I'm not a Gillivan fan enough to know this name!  She is an elderly, perhaps ugly, lady who sings "Alone and Yet Alive."

SECCO is a fresco painted on dry plaster.  Fresco-Secco sounds like an Italian soda brand.  Secco, of course, means dry.  And prosecco is professionally dry.

WOOF!  That's a lot of high culture.  John Lithgow sure is an erudite fellow when it comes to the performing arts.  MINOSO much as him. 

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